Keeping up with guidelines about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can be confusing.
Are you staying up to date? To make it easier, we’ve pulled together a “cheat sheet” of the latest tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To avoid being seriously ill or being hospitalized with COVID-19, it’s best to remain current with vaccinations, including recommended booster shots.
Here’s everything you need to know!
Which vaccines are approved?
Currently, four COVID-19 vaccines are FDA-approved or authorized for emergency use in the U.S. These include:
- Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
- Moderna vaccines.
- Novavax vaccine, adjuvanted.
- Janssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)
Because of safety considerations the Janssen vaccine should only be considered in limited situations.
Booster shot information
For most people, booster shots are recommended at least two months following a primary vaccination series. Updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech boosters targeting the latest variants became available on these dates:
- September 2, 2022—12 years and older
- October 12, 2022—ages 5 to 11
- December 9, 2022—six months to five years old
To offer protection for more children, the FDA has now authorized boosters down to six months of age.
Other tips and guidance
For all adults 18 years and older, plus children and teens (six months to 17 years), the CDC recommends staying current with COVID-19 vaccines for your age group. Here are some other tips:
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine even after recovering from a COVID-19 infection provides added protection.
- If you’ve recently had COVID-19, you can consider delaying your next primary or booster vaccine dose by three months. This means three months from when your symptoms started or from when you first received a positive test, if you didn’t experience any symptoms.
- It is not recommended to mix products for your primary series doses. For example, if you received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax as your first dose, you should continue with the same product for any following primary series doses.
Is it okay to mix booster shots?
Though mixing of products for the primary series is not recommended, you may switch products for your booster, if you wish.
- For people six years of age or older, it’s okay to get a different product for your updated booster than you had for your primary series, or last booster.
- Children five years old are currently recommended to only receive the updated Pfizer-BioNTech booster. They can get this whether they received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their primary series.
- For children six months to four years, it’s recommended to follow with the same manufacturer they received for their primary series.
When are you up to date?
You’ll be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines if you’ve completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and received the most recent booster recommended by the CDC.
CDC makes their recommendations based on:
- Your age.
- Type of vaccine you first received.
- Length of time since your last dose.
Also, if you receive all COVID-19 vaccine doses recommended for you—and then become ill with COVID-19— you’re still considered up to date. You don’t need to be immediately re-vaccinated or receive an additional booster.
How can I find COVID-19 vaccines and boosters I need near me?
To find a COVID-19 vaccine in your area:
- Search vaccines.gov.
- Text your ZIP code to 438829.
- Call 800.232.0233.
If you’re a Meritain Health member, you can call 1.800.830.2310 and have a Meritain Health Pharmacy Solutions (MPS) team member assist you with availability.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.